The International Federation for Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) in collaboration with Medlab Ghana Ltd, a member of Synlab, and the University of Ghana, with support from Sysmex and BD, has completed research to determine and establish context-based reference intervals (RIs) that will ultimately determine how clinical test results are more accurately interpreted.
Emeritus Professor Kiyoshi Ichihara of Yamaguchi University, Japan is leading the global research. The research has an African component and five countries namely: Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Egypt were selected and research carried out successfully. In Ghana, Medlab Ghana Ltd and the University of Ghana played lead roles.
At a Research Presentation ceremony in Accra, Prof. Ichihara intimated that: “The ‘Global Project to Determine Reference Intervals (RIs) in Harmonisation’ brought together 20 countries across the world to develop standard methodologies for producing accurate and consistent reference ranges for common clinical tests. This will lead directly to more accurate diagnosis and optimal treatment regimens for patients.”
Nearly all decisions regarding the clinical management of patients are made with reference to the results of laboratory tests. However, this aspect of patient care and diagnosis is often taken for granted by the assumption that laboratory test results are standardised and robust. Currently, clinical tests are interpreted based on standards from the developed part of the world without taking into account, local and context-based factors such as nutrition, genetics and other factors.
The project was launched in 2012 after two years of discussion with IFCC on harmonised protocol, followed by a further four years of recruitment, testing and reporting, culminating in papers published in 2017, which recommend standards to be adopted globally for setting RIs.
Prof. Julius Fobil of the School of Public Health, University of Ghana, thanked all global partners and said the research had broadened the scope of knowledge on Reference Intervals in Clinical Laboratory Science. He applauded Prof. Ichihara for his global efforts and the impartation of knowledge to some doctoral students from the School of Public Health.
Dr. Rosemary Keatley of Medlab Ghana Ltd, a member of Synlab, is optimistic that the results of the research would be adopted by health authorities as a consensus standard for RIs in Ghana. She said: “Preliminary results have shown a clear difference between the current RIs determined from a Caucasian population and the new ones derived from a country-based research. The new RIs make the interpretation of laboratory results more accurate and it will lead to better diagnosis for Ghanaians.” Medlab rebranding as Synlab, is committed to using the result of the research and she believes others will join in, to promote a more decisive and accurate diagnosis.”
Prof. Kiyoshi Ichihara, MD & PhD has been an emeritus professor of Yamaguchi University, Japan, since 2016, and is currently research professor for the university. He has been in the field of laboratory medicine and clinical chemistry since graduation from Yamaguchi University School of Medicine in 1975. He has published 130 original papers in international journals, particularly on theories and methodologies for derivation of RIs and laboratory quality controls. He has been an author of popular statistical textbooks and software in Japan since 1990, with unique expertise in biostatistics and computer programming as a MD. He has chaired many global committees on RI-related projects.